There are many advantages to timber frame construction; however without a doubt its best know quality is its environmental benefits. By choosing to build with timber frame you are making a positive contribution to tackling climate change.
Timber comes from trees!
A thriving timber frame industry means the need for well run, sustainable managed forests, full of trees that soak up carbon dioxide within their core and keep it locked inside.
- Timber is an organic, non-toxic and naturally renewable building material.
- Although worldwide, deforestation remains a significant issue, it is not caused by European construction as mainly softwood is used.
- Over 90% of all wood consumed in Europe is sourced from European forests. Timber frame uses 99% European softwood.
- The more wood we use, the more our forests grow, because in Europe we are committed to planting more trees than we harvest.
- Forests act as huge carbon sinks. The total carbon sequestered in Europe’s forests is over 9.5 million tonnes.
- Mature trees, however, absorb far less carbon dioxide and produce less oxygen than those at earlier stages of growth. So the harvesting of older trees for construction purposes, and their replacement with saplings – two planted for every one harvested in Scandinavian forests – ensures a constant cycle of CO2 absorption and oxygen production.
Whole life performance
- Wood is effectively a carbon-neutral material (even allowing for transport).
- Timber frame has the lowest CO2 cost of any commercially available building material.
- For every cubic metre of wood used instead of other building materials, 0.8 tonnes of CO2 is saved from the atmosphere.
- Processing timber is not a gas-guzzling procedure either. 77% of the energy used in the production of wood products comes from wood residues and recovered wood.
- Converting timber into a useable building material takes far less energy and creates minimal pollution compared to other mainstream alternatives such as aluminium, steel, concrete and brick.
- Strength for strength, concrete uses 5 times (and steel uses 6 times) more energy to produce than timber.
- Waste and ‘end of life’ wood can be easily recycled.
But benefits don’t stop at the point of a homes completion on site. Using a standard 140mm stud timber frame system achieves U-values of 0.27 using readily available and standard insulation – and using higher performance insulation and insulation breather membranes can boost these figures down as low as 0.11. This means significant carbon savings in the homes day to day use, as well as financial benefits from lower running costs.
A timber frame home is a warm, comfortable and safe place in to live – what more could you ask from a home that is also helping you to reduce energy costs and your carbon footprint.
Building Energy Rating (B.E.R)
A BER is an indication of the energy performance of a building ranging from A1 to G.
It covers the energy use for space heating, water heating, ventilation and lighting.
As part of the Energy Performance of Building Directive, a Building Energy Rating (BER) certificate, which is effectively an energy label, will be required at the point of sale or rental of a building, or on completion of a new building.
A provisional BER certificate can be completed when using initial construction drawings (before the building is constructed).
A complete BER certificate can only be completed when the building has been constructed. See sample (right) from SEAI.
The BER is accompanied by an “Advisory Report” setting out recommendations for cost-effective improvements to the energy performance of the building. There is no legal obligation on vendors or prospective purchasers to carry out the recommended improvements. The SEAI publish BER certificates on a public BER Register.
As part of our service we have a trained BER consultant in our company, who will give advice on energy savings.
For more information visit: Retrofit.ie
Air tightness test – identifying air leakage!
Air leakage is the uncontrolled flow of air through gaps and cracks in the fabric of a building (sometimes referred to as infiltration or draughts). This is not to be confused with ventilation, which is the controlled flow of air into and out of the building through purpose built ventilators and must be in accordance with building regulations.
The need for higher energy efficiency and the need to demonstrate compliance with Building Regulations means that air tightness has become a major performance issue.
As an optional extra TTFC can offer an air-tight building*. An independant assessor can test your home for air-tightness where 3 m3/hr/m2 at 50pa is considered to be best practice we aim for 2 m3/hr/m2 50pa
It is the builders responsibility to ensure that the radon barrier / damp proof course is sealed correctly as this can effect air-tightness.
* A building is considered to be air-tight when it achieves less than or equal to the building regulation requirement of 7 m3/hr/m2 50pa.